Ridgefield too much for Warde
What started out as an unfortunate, ill-timed circumstance, may now turn into a clear-cut advantage for the Ridgefield High football team.
When starting quarterback Connor Rowe was suspended for two games for an off-field issue three weeks ago, the 2012 fortunes for the Tigers were expected to plummet. But last week back-up Ryan Dunn stepped in and completed 15 of 16 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers beat Wilton by 35 points. Then Friday night, in Ridgefield's 28-7 victory over Fairfield Warde, Rowe returned and a two-headed monster was hatched.
"It is hard enough playing against a good team like Ridgefield; now we have to defend against two good quarterbacks like that? That's scary," Warde coach Duncan Dellavolpe said. "That's a tough team to play now."
Dunn, a sophomore, started Friday and helped the Tigers (4-1) to a 12-0 lead. But the senior Rowe entered with four minutes remaining in the half and led the team on a 98-yard drive that made it 18-0.
Dunn was 8 for 13 (23 for 29 the last two games) for 73 yards. Rowe, meanwhile was 5 for 7 for 78 yards passing and rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns. So, now what does coach Kevin Callahan do going forward?
"It's hard to say," he said. "It raises a thousand questions. We have to decide what's fair and right for the team. Dunn deserved to start tonight after what he did last week, but Rowe was playing with a chip on his shoulder.
"I don't know," Callahan continued, "it could end up being the two of them."
Callahan is smart. He knows that it will be a major headache for future opponents to prepare for three possibilities -- Rowe or Dunn or Rowe and Dunn -- rather than just one.
Such a headache was felt by the underdog Mustangs (1-4), who trailed by only 11 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. After Ridgefield's Sam Gravitte scored from 11 and 14 yards out, Warde had a first and goal at the Ridgefield 6, but were stopped. Rowe came on and the Tigers marched 98 yards with Rowe going the final 22 for an 18-0 lead.
Warde cut it to 18-7 on a 34-yard Hail Mary pass from Max Garrett to Mark Byrne on the first half's final play. Gravitte's 31-yard field goal and then Rowe's 41-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter completed the scoring.
Gravitte finished with 52 yards rushing but also caught seven passes for 107 yards.
Warde was led by Garrett (8-for-18 115 yards) and running back Dawud Mohamed, who rushed for 41 yards.
Ridgefield 28, Warde 7
RIDGEFIELD 6 12 3 7--28
FAIRFIELD WARDE 0 7 0 0--7
R--Sam Gravitte, 11 run (kick blocked)
R--Gravitte, 14 run (run failed)
R--Connor Rowe, 22 run (run failed)
W--Mark Byrne, 34 pass from Max Garrett (Cristian Ocana kick)
R--Gravitte, 31 field goal
R--Rowe, 41 run (Gravitte kick)
Records: Ridgefield 4-1, Warde 1-4.